I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mark today in someway and how it affects my daughters.
Yesterday morning (November 8, 2016), the first thing Chloe asked was if Hillary had won. She knew it was election day. I explained that while Mommy and I had already voted, most people were going to vote today and we wouldn’t likely know the results until late at night. When it was time for bed, both she and Julianna asked me to let them know when we found out.
Like I mentioned in my last post, we don’t talk a ton of politics in the house and try hard to be respectful but Donald Trump, during this campaign, has made it difficult. When the girls come home and have heard from somewhere that he called other candidates bad names, called women ugly, and any number of other offensive comments, it was hard to find the balance between being respectful to the person who could become the next President of the United States and not teaching them that his behavior was at all acceptable.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about how this campaign would affect the girls. They have no concept of the economy or foreign policy or clean energy or the jobs reports or the housing market. I’m always happy to discuss any of that if they ever ask. They never do. What’s more important to me is that, while they are in their “epic social growth” years where they are learning to be good people, they have good role models; good examples to follow.
My wife and I were recently out for dinner with some friends and we were discussing the notion that it was very possible that our collective daughters (they have two as well), could be growing up in a world where the first time they potentially could have a President who is a white man would be 2020: their first two presidents could be Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This sort of thing wouldn’t even phase these kids. It would be their normal. It was a pretty incredible thought.
Yesterday, at lunch, we were discussing how people were lining up at Susan B. Anthony’s grave to put “I voted” stickers there. The girls couldn’t wrap their minds around the concept that there was a time when women weren’t allowed to vote. My wife and I actively preach that the girls can do anything they set their minds to.
And then we had to have a tough conversation with them this morning.
This is basically what we said: Donald Trump is going to be our next President. We live in a country where there’s something called Democracy. Not every country gets to have this. The idea is that once you get to be 18, you get a chance to vote for the things that are important to you. Sometimes the vote goes in your favor, sometimes it doesn’t. We are very lucky to live in a place where we get to participate.
I told them that I want to believe that all the mean things that Donald Trump said in this process were choices he made because he thought that was his best chance to win but that deep down, maybe he wasn’t actually a bad person. I said that in any game I’ve ever played, win or lose, I try to be a good sport and be respectful of my opponent; that had I been running for President, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t handle myself the way he did and I’d like to think that they wouldn’t either. All of that being said, I told them that the race is over and that Donald Trump, whether we had wanted it or not, is going to be our next President and its our jobs, as Americans, to respect the process, respect the office, and do what we can to work together, in whatever ways we are able, to make sure good things happen for people. We are all better when we’re all better.
At my daughters’ elementary school, they have this concept called “SPARK”.
It stands for:
A problem solver
This is the message the school wants the kids to really understand and practice. They reward the kids for showing good SPARK behavior. I think its a good message for all of us.
Now is the time to take off the boxing gloves and put on the work gloves.
Time for us to work together, with open minds and open hearts, and move forward.
Our kids deserve at least that much right?